Sens. Marshall, Scott Bill Designates Drug Cartels as Foreign Terrorists

Legislation comes amid growing fentanyl crisis

(Washington, D.C., September 21, 2022) – U.S. Senators Roger Marshall, M.D. (KS) and Rick Scott (FL) today – amid the growing fentanyl crisis – introduced the Drug Cartel Terrorist Designation Act, legislation to formally designate drug cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations. As these cartels continue to invade our porous southern border with illicit guns and drugs that are killing hundreds of Americans each day, this designation is needed to ramp up efforts to combat them.

“The illicit drugs and other deadly activities being carried out by cartels are killing Americans at record rates. Since Joe Biden and the Democrats continue to turn a blind eye, we are going to do something about it by designating the drug cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” said Senator Marshall. “As these cartels continue to invade our porous southern border in an increasingly militarized approach, this designation is needed to ramp up our efforts to combat them. We will not rest in our fight to stop fentanyl’s terrible scourge wreaking havoc in Kansas and across the U.S.”

Senator Rick Scott said, “Fentanyl is a leading cause of death among young people in the United States—and those who knowingly distribute the highly lethal drug are declaring war on Americans. For far too long, people have suffered addiction and death because of this evil drug that is pouring across Joe Biden’s open southern border; and to put an end to this crisis, these cartels must be held accountable and classified as terrorists. I am proud to join Senator Marshall in standing up against this crisis and urge this commonsense legislation pass the Senate immediately.”


The Drug Cartel Terrorist Designation Act would formally designate the following cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations:

  • Reynosa/Los Metros faction of the Gulf Cartel.
  • The Cartel Del Noreste faction of Los Zetas.
  • The Jalisco New Generation Cartel.
  • The Sinaloa Cartel

The Senators’ legislation would also require a report on possible additional cartels to give the Foreign Terrorist Organization designation. This declaration would:

  • Make it against the law for individuals to knowingly provide “material support or resources” to the cartel to enter the United States.
  • Ban any foreign citizen from entering the United States who is a member of one of these cartels, is formally associated with the organization or who has “engaged in terrorist activity” relating to that organization.
  • Grant the Secretary of the Treasury the authority to freeze the assets of each cartel and block any transactions relating to those assets.

Senator Marshall’s Fight Against Fentanyl Crisis:

Last week, Senator Marshall announced the Cooper Davis Act during a press conference in Overland Park. The bill is named after Cooper Davis, a Johnson County teen who tragically lost his life to fentanyl poisoning last summer after taking half a fake Percocet pill that contained a lethal dose of fentanyl. It is believed the pill was purchased from a Missouri drug dealer through the social media platform Snapchat. In recent years, organized drug cartels have dominated fentanyl trafficking in the country, and they have set up large, sophisticated distribution networks online via social media. In investigating fentanyl-related poisoning and deaths in teenagers and young adults, law enforcement agencies have found an alarming rate of these deadly pills acquired through platforms like TikTok and Snapchat. Unfortunately, federal agencies do not have the data to intervene and prevent these illegal activities. The Cooper Davis Act would require social media companies and other communication service providers to take on a more active role in working with federal agencies to combat the illegal sale and distribution of drugs on their platforms. This critical data will also empower state and local law enforcement to combat fake fentanyl-laced pills and prosecute those who prey on America’s youth. NBC Kansas City covered the story and you may click HERE or on the image below to watch.

Recently, Senator Marshall joined a group of his colleagues on a letter to hold the CEOs of Instagram, TikTok, Snap Inc., and YouTube accountable and demand answers on what they are doing to curb the drug epidemic created by President Biden’s southern border crisis and prevent the sale of fentanyl-laced pills to teenagers and young adults on their social media platforms. You may click HERE to read the full letter written by Senator Marshall and his colleagues.

Additionally, Senator Marshall questioned Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky about what actions federal health agencies are taking to stop the flow of poisonous, illicit fentanyl into American communities. In response to one of Senator Marshall’s questions, Director Walensky confirmed she has had conversations with Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra about declaring the fentanyl crisis a public health emergency, but did not say whether or not she recommended that to Secretary Becerra. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch Senator Marshall’s full line of questioning:

Senator Marshall previously questioned CDC Director Walensky at a hearing about the illicit fentanyl crisis that is wreaking havoc across Kansas. The questions came on the heels of law enforcement officers in Kansas City, Kansas seizing nearly 15,000 counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl during a two-day bust and Wichita officers seizing nearly 7,000 illegal fentanyl pills during a single traffic stop. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch his remarks and questioning.

On August 31, International Overdose Awareness Day, Senator Marshall released a video warning about the dangers of fentanyl poisoning and social media where counterfeit or fake drugs are often purchased and laced with fentanyl. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch the video.

Senator Marshall, along with Senators John Barrasso, M.D. (WY), John Boozman, O.D. (AR), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (LA), and Rand Paul M.D. (KY), recently released a public service announcement (PSA) warning about the dangers of illicit fentanyl that is wreaking havoc in communities throughout the nation and killing Americans at record rates. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch the PSA.

Recently, Senator Marshall questioned federal officials on the Biden Administration’s response to the deadly fentanyl crisis wreaking havoc in Kansas and across the U.S. He said in part, “Kansas is literally at the crossroads of fentanyl trafficking… With three major arteries coming out of Mexico piercing the heart of my great state, and all 3 bisecting the nation’s busiest east-west byway, we are now ground zero… In Mexico, Chinese chemists and the cartels convert these precursors into fentanyl, and lace fake pills like Adderall, or Xanax, or Percocet, or mix with illicit drugs like meth and cocaine… Unfortunately, this is one supply chain from China that’s not broken… Dying from fentanyl is poisoning, not an overdose.” You may click HERE or on the image below to watch Senator Marshall’s full opening remarks and line of questioning.

Additionally, Senator Marshall announced support for the Stop Fentanyl Border Crossings Act, legislation to expand pandemic-related Title 42 expedited removal authority to combat the fentanyl overdose epidemic resulting from drug smuggling across our southern border.

On National Fentanyl Awareness Day, Senator Marshall announced support for the HALT Fentanyl Act. The legislation would permanently give law enforcement the tools to help combat the fentanyl crisis by permanently placing fentanyl-related substances as a class into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. A Schedule I controlled substance is a drug, substance, or chemical that has a high potential for abuse; has no currently accepted medical value; and is subject to regulatory controls and administrative, civil, and criminal penalties under the Controlled Substances Act. Fentanyl-related substances’ current Schedule I classification is temporary and set to expire later this year.

In May, Senator Marshall and Kansas Sheriffs Calvin Hayden (Johnson County), Brian Hill (Shawnee County), Roger Soldan (Saline County), Jeff Richards (Franklin County), and Tim Morse (Jackson County) traveled to the Southern Border for briefings, tours, and meetings with border patrol officials, within DHS and the state of Texas. The trip came amid the pending expiration of Title 42 and the growing fentanyl crisis that is wreaking havoc in Kansas and across the nation. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch a recap visit of their trip.

You may click HERE or on the collage below to download high-res photos from their trip.

Senator Marshall is a cosponsor of a Senate resolution to designate May 10, 2022 as National Fentanyl Awareness Day. The resolution supports the mission and goals of National Fentanyl Awareness Day in 2022, including increasing individual and public awareness of the impact of fake or counterfeit fentanyl-related substances on families and young people.